With oilseed rape (OSR) remaining the most profitable break crop for many arable rotations, growers are being advised to consider the new additions to the 2019/20 AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds Recommended List.
“OSR is an important part of many rotations, with the genetics now in place resulting in gains in disease resistance and yield, as well as other agronomic factors such as vigour, in order to try and combat the issues around establishment,” says Jonathan Baxendale, Wynnstay combinable seed product manager.
When it comes to variety, he says there are some exciting new additions on the market but also some solid favourites with proven performance.
“Campus continues to lead the way as the favourite for growers, having been on the Recommended List since 2015,” says Mr Baxendale.
“It’s currently the most widely grown conventional OSR variety and is on the Recommended List as a control for both the North region and East/West region, demonstrating its consistency and suitability for the whole of the UK.
“It has high ratings for lodging resistance and stiffness, as well as a disease resistance rating of 6 against light leaf spot. The variety is known as the ‘seed with speed’, establishing quickly in the autumn, and has more vigour than many hybrid varieties.”
On the hybrid front David Huish, seed sales manager at Wynnstay Woodheads, notes DK Exalte and Dazzler are two varieties to consider, with DK Exalte offering vigorous establishment and rapid autumn growth.
“It suits later drilling, and is a robust and reliable variety, with a good agronomic package and yield, along with pod shatter resistance,” says Mr Huish.
“Dazzler is a new addition to the candidate list as an early maturing hybrid. It has an excellent oil content with good disease ratings of 8 for stem canker and 6 for light leaf spot. It’s also turnip yellows virus resistant, having this trait without seeing a negative performance in yield.”
“On the Clearfield front, DK Imperial CL and Phoenix CL still appear to be the two main varieties for growers to consider, with both having a good combination of seed yield and autumn vigour,” he adds.
Mr Baxendale notes a candidate variety to consider for 2019 is KWS Blazen. “It’ll be interesting to monitor its performance on-farm this season, as it offers a high yielding score of 104% of controls, and a good stiffness score of 8. It also has good autumn vigour and disease resistance scores for light leaf spot and stem canker,” he says.
The variety is also the first OSR on the KWS Oilseed Establishment Partnership (KOEP) – a unique approach consisting of a lower capital outlay for the grower, with the balance only paid if the crop is established, i.e. it’s still in the ground (not ploughed up and/or re-drilled) on 1 November.
“The grower still purchases the seed through the merchant, such as Wynnstay, but pays just a proportion of the price compared to normal, at roughly £115-£125 for a four million seed pack. Following a successful establishment, an additional fee of £28/ha is then paid through the British Intellectual Property Office (BIPO) at the start of November,” he explains.
“If you’re uncertain as to whether an OSR crop will perform well on your farm this season or is still the right choice in terms of an autumn break crop, the scheme could be a really good option.
“The 2019/20 list offers a great deal of choice for growers, with varieties offering good agronomic packages which should enable crops to perform well, providing a profitable investment this winter,” Mr Baxendale concludes.